Fairyland maintains unbeaten record in Marble Hill Stakes

O’Brien dominates juvenile contest

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Fairyland led home a one-two-three for Aidan O’Brien in the Cold Move Irish EBF Marble Hill Stakes as the Ballydoyle trainer picked up the Listed prize for an 11th time at the Curragh.

The daughter of Kodiac cost 925,000 guineas at Tattersalls Sales and that looked a bargain after she followed up her Naas debut victory in impressive fashion.

Michael O’Callaghan’s Recon Mission and O’Brien’s Land Force made the running, but Fairyland (4-1) was never far away and stretched out eyecatchingly for Seamie Heffernan.

She went on to score by two and a quarter lengths from her stablemate Van Beethoven, who was sent off the 4-6 favourite but never posed a real threat. Land Force was just a neck away to complete the O’Brien clean sweep.

O’Brien said: “She looks very nice. She won very nicely in Naas and Ryan (Moore) loved her when he rode her. Wayne (Lordan) rides her at home all the time and he’s always loved her.

“She’s relaxed. First time was five and we stepped her up to six today to have a little bit of a feel and give her a little bit of experience. She was very comfortable at it, looking at her, and Seamus was really happy with her.

“She travelled well and Seamus said she’s a very kind, very unassuming type of filly, and she cruised the whole way. He felt she would even stay further.

“She has a great pedigree and Mrs Stockwell always loved her, she loved her at the sales. She’s an exciting filly.”

He added: “She’s a filly for either the Queen Mary or the Albany, we have a choice now.”

Opal Tiara overturned hot favourite Hydrangea to land the Group Two Lanwades Stud Stakes for West Ilsley trainer Mick Channon.

The O’Brien filly had looked like making all the running over a mile, but Ronan Whelan had other ideas as he delivered the five-year-old with a telling effort in the final furlong.

Opal Tiara (10-1) got on top close home to defeat the even-money favourite by a length and three-quarters and go one better in this race than 12 months ago.

That is likely to be her swansong, as she is in foal to Churchill.

“She’s been great for us the last few years and has taken her owners to Dubai. She just keeps turning up at the big events and keeps running well,” said Jack Channon, assistant to his father.

“Ronan gave her a peach of a ride. We thought she was in great nick. She’s in foal and this will probably be her last spin, so it’s great to finish off like that.

“After Dubai we decided to put her in foal and give her a break for that whole process. Everything has gone great with her training. We didn’t think we’d be able to beat the favourite, but we thought it was worth having a go and it’s paid off.

“She’s in foal to Churchill and hopefully he gave her a little bit of help.

“She travels great. She can be a little bit buzzy and a little bit hard to handle, but she was very relaxed today.”

Fairyland maintains unbeaten record in Marble Hill Stakes
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